I Can’t Get No (but Gordon can)

Booking a steelhead trip months in advance is a sure way to not only reserve a spot, but also play the weather and bite lottery. It’s a game I’ve done very well at when it comes to steelheading and losing.

Like Sunday, when Gordo and I fished some Lake Ontario tribs. 34 degrees, wind, rain, freezing rain, high & cold water, bite all but shut down. (I try. And I try. And I try. And I try. The fact is, dammit, I’ve blanked on three of my last four days up there. And oh, the crappy conditions I’ve endured. Insert long sigh here.) Of course, you can’t control the elements, so you might as well make the best of it.

We started off with some crik stomping at Trib A. Dad blanked, Gordo landed a dark horse buck before the bite shut down. Trib B was the Salmon River. After a couple hours we decided it wasn’t going to happen, and the lack of boats, anglers, or witnessing any hookups made us feel good with the decision as we paddled down to Pineville. Off to Trib C. First hour: blank, blank, blank. Last two hours: a fresh run of fish from the lake. Unfornately it wasn’t dad’s day, and I couldn’t even manage a touch. Gordo dropped two and landed two, so I got to play the role of proud papa, which, as any of you dads can testify, takes the mightiest stink out of any skunk.

Given the choice between 10 degrees and sunny or 34 degrees and raining/icing, I’ll take Option A any day. Sadly, we didn’t have a choice. I think I’m finally starting to warm up.

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Kids. You take them fishing and they have the nerve to outfish you. Decisively. That’s OK. I’ve got a lot of yard work planned for this young man this week. Talk about a trouper — miserable conditions, spotty bite, and Gordo never complained once. Having finally lost a steelhead and for becoming a member of the Frozen Chosen, he’s now officially a steelheader.

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600 Followers Contest Swag

I spent part of yesterday hunkered down at the bench, fingers flying around fur and feather. My intention was to get these out today, but it will have to wait until early next week. In the meantime, feast your eyes — and think about the potential glory you hold within each cast. On we go to 700!

Roger and Vince asked for striper flies. Here’s a starter kit, with many major food groups covered. They’ll be getting one of each. Clockwise from bottom: Orange Ruthless (clam worm), Ray’s Fly (silverside), Inconspicuous (anchovy), Eelie (sand eel), Grass Shrimp Solution, and Soft Hackled Flatwing (generic baitfish/attractor).

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Here are Paul’s soft hackles and wets. Left cork, clockwise, starting upper left: Partridge and Light Cahill (2), Hare’s Ear wingless, Red Fox Squirrel nymph, Squirrel and Ginger, BH Squirrel and Ginger. Right Cork, clockwise, starting upper right, Hackled March Brown, Grizzly and Grey wingless, Dark Hendrickson (2), Drowned Ant (2).

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Many thanks to everyone for your readership, kindness, and support. I have lots of good stuff planned for this spring and beyond, so stay tuned.

“Building A Better Trout Stream” — the story of Hatchery Creek, a natural-looking, sustainable, man-made stream

April summons memories of my early days as a trout angler: nightcrawlers, fishing with dad, Opening Day, Salmon River, and of course, buckets of trout fresh from the hatchery. The story of Hatchery Creek in Kentucky is quite different. What a cool concept — creating a blue ribbon trout stream from scratch — and they pulled it off big-time. “Building a Better Trout Stream” originally appeared in the January/February 2017 issue of American Angler.

Building A Better Trout Stream

Here’s to the fine job our Connecticut hatcheries and DEEP staff do. Love me my survivor Strain trout.

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Contest winners

For a complete list of winners, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to….nah, what the heck, I’ll just tell you now. Vince Rizzo, Paul Rice, and rmitterling are the three lucky winners. I’ll post their swag when I tie it (gotta hit the bench).

To those who entered, thank you for your valuable input. And to all currentseams readers and followers, thanks for your loyal support and good energy. You truly make this a labor of love.

On to 700!

Here’s to the winners. (Nothing better than a wee drop in the midst of a Block Island All-Nighter.)

Block Island All-Nighter Wee Drop

 

Compleat Angler awarded the Order of the Noble Turkey Sandwich (with Lays chip clusters) — and other Monday ramblings

Many thanks to my friends at the Compleat Angler in Darien for hosting my Local Rivers tying demo on Saturday. Tying and talking fishing is certainly one of the things I like most about my job. Thanks to everyone who showed up, and — as always — a fed tyer is a happy tyer. That sandwich really hit the spot! A final note: The Compleat Angler is a terrific fly shop. Every year I find something good down there. This year it was a Renzetti magnum hair stacker. (Wet fly aficionados, they have a terrific selection of soft hen hackle capes.)

Passing around the Deep Threat for a few photos.

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The 600 Followers contest is officially closed. Thank you everyone who entered, and I loved your comments and suggestions. Now to put them to good use! I will do the drawing in a few days and announce the winners. Now’s the time to summon your good luck karma.

Bombardiers for a client. Coming to an estuary near you…

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Compleat Angler tying demo Saturday March 31 and contest closing soon

Join me at the Compleat Angler, 541 Post Road, Darien, CT, this Saturday March 31 from 10am-2pm.  We’ll focus on “Trout Flies for Local Rivers” (although there may be a smallie pattern or two thrown in). Here’s how the ad copy reads: “Join outdoor writer and guide Steve Culton as he demonstrates how to tie some of his favorite patterns for the Farmington, Housatonic, and other local rivers. There will be a little bit of everything: wets, dries, nymphs, and streamers, from traditional classics to new designs. These are all high-confidence, proven patterns, and Steve will also discuss how, when, and where he likes to fish them.” The demo is free, low/no-pressure, and a great opportunity to ask questions and talk fishing. For more info, visit the Compleat Angler’s Facebook page.

We’ll be filling some corks for sure.

Squirrel and Ginger cork

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And don’t forget! The Super Six Hundred Followers contest closes at midnight, Saturday March 31 — so if you haven’t entered, time’s a wasting. You can find all the rules here.

 

Did you know that I give private fly tying lessons?

I didn’t either, until a few weeks ago. Bill stopped by my table at the CFFA Expo and asked if I’d give him some fly tying lessons. He wanted to learn some new patterns and refine his technique. We met on Friday, and a swell time was had by all. In addition to tying, we talked about tactics and strategies, from wet fly to nymphing and stripers to trout. So yes, I can speak at your club or show. Yes, I can take you out on the water. And yes, I can work with you on tying and fly fishing theory/practical applications.

I am a teacher. It’s what I do.

Here’s a free lesson for everyone: use only as many thread wraps as you need. Use only as much material as you need (you’re probably using too much.) Here’s how much fur I use for the hackle on a Squirrel and Ginger. And did I mention that you first need to clear out the longer guard hairs and all that underfur dross with a mini comb? What you leave out of a fly is as important as what you put in.

Fur hackle dubbing loop prep

Et voila.

S&G ready to finish